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8 cheap ways to move across country

Save money on your next move with these 8 tips

Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
moving truck on the road

How much does it cost to move across the country?

The cost of a cross-country move depends on the size of your household as well as your starting and ending points. Generally, the average cost of moving cross country ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. If you have a large house, prepare to spend more. If you have a lot of antiques or heavy items like pianos and freezers, there will be extra costs.

The good news is, there are simple ways to save money on a long distance move and make the entire process less stressful. These long distance moving options can help you get your belongings to your new home without going over your moving budget.

8 cheap ways to move across country

Most people move for a new job, to attend school or to be closer to family. Whatever your reason is for making the move, you’ll want to save money wherever you can. Here are eight of the best ways to save money when you move:

  1. Purge your belongings
    If you lighten your load, you’ll pay less in moving costs. Have a yard sale, sell what you don’t need on Craigslist or similar sites, donate what you can to charities and stop acquiring new things before you leave. Taking a few steps to declutter your home will make your move easier and cheaper.
  2. Make your move seasonal
    Summer is the most expensive time to move because that’s when families are getting settled before the new school year starts. Leases tend to expire towards the end of the month, so you’ll have more people booking moving companies the last week of the month than the first or second. Try to move at a different time of the year, in the middle of the month and on a weekday when there’s less competition for movers.
  3. Shop around for the best prices
    Don’t book the first mover you talk to. Get estimates from long distance movers that specialize in cross-country moves like American Van Lines and Long Distance Relocation Services. Compare what you’ll pay. Remember to measure costs and services. A lower price from a company that calls themselves a discount mover might mean you pay for extras that you wouldn’t pay for with a higher priced company.
  4. Look for moving discounts
    While you’re shopping around, don’t neglect to ask for available discounts. AAA moving discounts are available for members and some moving companies provide reduced rates at certain times of the year (generally during their slower seasons, like winter).

    If you are a veteran or active military member, look for military discount moving companies. A military moving company will offer discounts for members of the military, veterans and their families and will understand what specific additional needs you have for a military move. Budget truck and Penkse military discounts honor military members with reduced rates.

  5. Consider doing the move yourself
    Shop around to find the cheapest truck rental for moving. Truck rentals are reasonably priced through companies like U-Haul and Budget Truck Rental, and most of these companies offer one-way rental trucks. If you really want to keep your budget tight, pack up your car with only your most critical belongings, or hitch a trailer to your car. It’s a good way to save money and start over. Handling the move yourself with just the bare essentials is one of the cheapest ways to move long distance.
  6. Use a portable moving container
    One of the cheapest ways to move out of state is to use a portable storage container. Mobile storage units can help you cut down on costs and stress by keeping all of your things in one place until it’s time to relocate. Companies like PODS provide a great way to store your belongings before and after the actual move. A cross-country trip could cost as little as $1,500.
  7. Ship your things
    You can also travel with your stuff while someone else does the driving. If you don’t have furniture to move and you’ve managed to reduce your load significantly, you can ship what you need to your new home using FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. You can get on a bus or a train or even book a flight across the country to your final destination. You may have to pay for extra baggage fees, but those might cost a lot less than what you pay a moving company.
  8. Be frugal, and save money wherever you can
    Instead of buying boxes from a retailer, visit grocery stores and department stores to collect the boxes that they would normally recycle. See what you can find on Craigslist, and remember that the packing tape you buy at a discount shop is probably just as good as the packing tape you buy at a high-end retailer. Accept help wherever you can, whether it’s your family offering to help you pack or a friend donating frequent flyer miles for your trip.
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Top Pick(888) 626-0309 Visit website
  • Type of moves: Local, long-distance and international
  • Other services: Storage
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Runner-Up Get a Free Quote Visit website
  • Type of moves: Long distance
  • Other services: Packing, storage
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Runner-Up(954) 828-0306 Get a Free Quote Visit website
  • Type of moves: Long distance
  • Other services: Packing, storage

Preparing to move out of state

Taking up residence in a different state will require you to do a number of things, from turning on the utilities in your new home to turning over the keys at your current home. If you want to save money on your move across the country, you have to be prepared and organized.

Put together a moving checklist that will keep you on track, and create a budget for everything you’ll need to fund, from deposits to tips to gas. Planning as much as you can and as early as you can will keep your move within budget and stress-free.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.